Lean management for farmers and growers

Lean management, often referred to as 'Lean', is a method to make businesses more efficient. Find out how you can use Lean principles to create more value and reduce waste.

As part of our Smart campaigns, we are championing Lean business methods and believe the adoption can help improve productivity for farmers and growers.

What is Lean?

The concept, Lean management stems from Japanese philosophy known as Kaizen, which means ‘change for the better’. The Kaizen philosophy teaches us to make small changes over time, to create improvements within a business, recognising that a small change in the present can make a huge impact in the future.

Lean is a business management methodology based on Kaizen. When implemented, it minimises the waste and maximises the value of a product for the end customer, without compromising quality. Lean encompasses three key concepts:

  1. Delivering more customer value.
  2. Minimising waste.
  3. Continuously improving.

If these concepts are embraced, a culture of continuous improvement is created. Successful implementation of Lean in the agriculture and horticulture industry, requires both management and staff to adopt it. It is crucial that staff are able to differentiate between the processes that add value, and those classified as waste. Staff-led continuous improvement makes sure that achievements are not only sustainable, but that members of staff have the skills to identify future business improvements.

Learn more about Lean management from Neil Fedden, Managing Director of Fedden USP and Lean consultant. 

The Lean management philosophy

From car manufacturing to the production of electronic devices, agricultural and horticultural production requires a series of processes. Find out more about the philosophy behind Lean management and how it can help you to maximise value and minimise waste.

Read more about the origins and principles of Lean management

Why use Lean management? An EUPiG case study

The beauty of Lean management is that any industry or business model can adopt it. Importantly, Lean is a proven way to increase the profitability and performance of a business. This is done using a number of Lean methods, designed to investigate the effectiveness of your production line and reduce the least productive areas, in your business.

When implemented, it benefits your customers as well as your team members. As part of the EUPiG programme, Pat O'Keeffe Piggeries implemented Lean, resulting in substantial savings.

Read more about the EUPiG Lean Improvement | Pat O'Keeffe Piggeries Case study

The 5 principles of Lean

When the 5 Lean principles are combined into a company's processes and culture, they create Lean production, manufacturing, and operating systems. By adopting these 5 principles, you can significantly enhance the productivity of your business.

Read more about the 5 principles of Lean

The wastes of Lean

Waste comes in many forms and, collectively, it hinders productivity and the efficiency of your supply chain. By identifying the many forms of waste, you can begin to reduce it.

Waste is any step in a process that does not add value to the customer whether that’s time, wasted skills or excessive transportation. There are three types of waste in Lean management – Muda, Muria, and Muri. This includes the eight wastes, often referred to by the acronym TIMWOODS.

Read more about the wastes of Lean

Calculate your business labour efficiency

Assessing the needs of your workplace labour requirements is crucial. The Labour Efficiency Calculator will help you retain current staff and help recruit the right people for the future.

Our calculator will score your organisation’s Lean and performance management skills, giving you a bird’s-eye view of your labour needs and generate a report highlighting areas that need focus. It will link you to relevant tools and guidance to support areas that would benefit from improvement.

Discover our Labour Efficiency Calculator

Plan, do, check, act

Plan, Do, Check, Act is a framework for improving your business. It is a fundamental part of the lean management philosophy and vital for continuous improvement. 

Find out how you can use the four-stage cycle to continuously improve your business

Root cause analysis

Root cause analysis is a method used to identify the root cause of issues in your business, i.e. why problems occur in the first place. Adopting the technique will eliminate issues from your business and prevent time, money, and resource from being wasted.

Find out how you can use Root Cause Analysis to identify and resolve issues

Using the Kanban framework

Kanban is a Lean management framework used to manage work and improve efficiency. It is a Japanese term that translates into ‘visual sign’.

Kanban boards can be used to visualise and manage critical tasks, helping you identify areas that need improvement.

Find out how you can use the Kanban framework to manage critical tasks and improve your business efficiency

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